Under-pressure Joachim Loew remains defiant despite defeat to France

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew gestures during the UEFA Nations League football match between France and Germany at the Stade de France, in which his side lost 2-1. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018

Under-pressure Joachim Loew remains defiant despite defeat to France

  • The Germans are bottom of Group A after back-to-back defeats to the Netherlands and France
  • Germany coach praised his young team for a stronger showing in Paris

LONDON: The pressure continued to mount on Joachim Loew this week as Germany suffered another defeat in the UEFA Nations League, this time to world champions France, but the head coach remains defiant.
The Germans are bottom of Group A after back-to-back defeats to the Netherlands and France, and face the ignominy of being relegated to League B for the next instalment of the tournament.
Germany took the lead through a Toni Kroos penalty in the first half, but Antoine Griezmann’s header and penalty saw France complete a second half turnaround.
Tuesday’s game saw a much better performance from Loew’s side after their 3-0 hammering at the hands of the Dutch, and the German praised his young team for a stronger showing in Paris.

“(Yes) I’m disappointed with the result, although I must say the defeat is different to Saturday’s,” he said. “Not because of the result but because of the performance. I’m very pleased with the performance.
“I think we were on an even level with what is probably the best team in the world. But France has a lot of individual quality, and if you’re not careful you’ll get punished straight away.”
After Toni Kroos had put Germany ahead, Loew was left to rue missed chances.
“The negative point is the converting of our chances. We were unable to put the ball in the goal,” he added. “I think we deserved to win because we were the best team but that’s not how things work. We lacked a bit of intelligence. If we’d been able to score a second we could have played in a calmer manner and won the match.”
Indeed, his French counterpart Didier Deschamps acknowledged his side had been outplayed by Germany in the first half.
“We struggled to stop them, they went through us,” he said. “Our positioning wasn’t quite what it should have been.”
But France captain Hugo Lloris was full of praise for his team and their “mental strength” in coming from behind against a quality side like Germany. “When we lift our level, the players’ talents really come to the fore,” he said.
Raphael Varane, who aged 25 has already won a World Cup and four Champions League titles with Real Madrid, was pleased France’s mental maturity shown on their run to World Cup glory was on display against the Germans.

“We managed to win the World Cup thanks to our mental qualities, despite some difficult moments. We have to keep these values, and not allow panic to set in. We have confidence in ourselves, and we know what we’re capable of.”
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann admitted the first half against Germany was much like how the French played against Iceland.
“We weren’t ourselves, either in the one-on-ones or in terms of the efforts we made for each other. The coach and the players talked at half-time and in the second half we saw the team that won the World Cup.”


Ukraine qualify for Euro 2020 despite Ronaldo's 700th goal

Updated 15 October 2019

Ukraine qualify for Euro 2020 despite Ronaldo's 700th goal

  • Ukraine held on to secure first place in Group

KIEV: Ukraine beat Portugal 2-1 on Monday to clinch a place at Euro 2020 despite Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his 700th career goal.
Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko put Ukraine two goals up after 27 minutes.
Although Ronaldo scored his landmark goal from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute and Taras Stepanenko was sent off, Ukraine held on to secure first place in Group B.
Ukraine join already qualified Poland, Russia, Italy and Belgium at next summer's finals, while second-placed Portugal, who are eight points behind Ukraine, have Serbia just a point behind them with two matches remaning after they beat Lithuania 2-1.
"There are days like these, when the ball just doesn't want to go in," said Portuguese midfielder Danilo. "No need to do the maths now: we just need to win the next two games to reach Euro 2020."
Yaremchuk pounced from close range in the sixth minute. The centre forward reacted fastest after Rui Patricio dived to parry Serhiy Kryvtsov's header from a corner, and poke the ball across the line.
Yarmolenko added the second when outpaced the Portuguese defence to finish a swift counter attack with a low, crisp first-time shot.
Portugal dominated the second half and finally achieved a breakthrough when Stepanenko blocked a shot with his arm, receiving his marching orders before Ronaldo blasted home the penalty to make it 700 goals for club and country.
The goal was his 95th for Portugal. The 34-year-old is now just 14 goals behind the all-time international record of 109 held by former Iran striker Ali Daei.
While the exact number of goals scored by some of the game's legends is the subject of debate, Ronaldo is agreed to be the sixth player to reach 700 after Austrian Josef Bican, Brazilians Romario and Pele, Hungarian Ferenc Puskas and German Gerd Muller.